This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie discuss some highlights from NASFAA's recent 2018 Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo, and answer a listener question regarding the status of borrower defense claim processing. They also dig into the details of an expected piece of guidance from the Department of Education regarding the oversight of student loan servicing companies. Reports have suggested ED will issue guidance stating federal law preempts state law—an idea that has upset many consumer advocates. Justin brings up a recent Pew survey on the favorability of various federal agencies and where ED stacks up in the rankings, as well as new research on who exactly uses income-driven repayment plans.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie discuss the Trump administration's budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2019 released earlier this month, and whether Congress will support its proposed cuts to student aid programs. The team also delves into what’s going on at the Department of Education, such as its request for comments on the current practice for discharging student loans in bankruptcy, and its announcement that it has opened solicitation for its new student loan servicing platform. Allie recaps what happened — or didn’t happen — at last week’s negotiated rulemaking session to rewrite borrower defense to repayment regulations. Plus, Megan outlines the letter NASFAA sent to the Senate education committee with concerns and suggestions regarding a proposal to create a system of risk-sharing among the federal government, institutions, and students.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie give a recap of the recent Senate education committee hearing on college affordability and student debt, and what everyone had to say about the "Bennett Hypothesis." Meanwhile, Congress is busy at work as lawmakers attempt to pass a two-year deal on spending caps and another continuing resolution to keep the government open for another few weeks. Away from Capitol Hill, the committee reconvened for the second session of negotiated rulemaking on gainful employment, and it's unclear how much negotiators will agree on going into the third session next month. Plus, Megan shares some insights from a recent event with a special featured speaker — former Vice President Joe Biden.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about the release of Pell Grant schedules and how budget uncertainty throws a wrench into the mix. Stephen gives us details on how budget talks are progressing and whether there’s the possibility of another government shutdown. The team also talks about what to expect from the second session of negotiated rulemaking on gainful employment and how NASFAA is celebrating financial aid awareness month. Plus, Megan shares her thoughts on an unusual casting call for House of Cards.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about the short-lived government shutdown and what Congress is doing to wrap up budget negotiations before the current continuing resolution expires early next month. The team talks about the latest Senate education committee hearing on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, and what route the Senate might take when putting together a reauthorization bill. The team digs into new information related to Federal Student Aid's proposed prepaid debit card for students and what questions remain moving forward. Plus, which NASFAA staffer transformed into the office bird in someone's dream?
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie dig into discussions from a Senate committee hearing on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing — one in a series on reauthorization — focused on how lawmakers can update the HEA to make the federal financial aid system more simple and transparent for students and families. Among other issues, one concern the senators discussed was whether financial aid award letters could do a better job of explaining cost of attendance and aid to students. Plus, Stephen tells us about the latest developments with a federal funding plan, and what may cause the government to shut down this weekend.
In a special episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Karen answer member questions on the House Republicans' Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, the PROSPER Act. Following up on a mid-December webinar focused on the basics of the new bill, members of the policy team dig into more specific questions on some of the bill's provisions. The team explains the philosophy behind some of the lawmakers' proposals, and explains how certain aspects of the bill — such as a revised R2T4 calculation and "aid like a paycheck" — might work together. The team also answers questions related to the Pell Grant program, student loans and repayment, counseling, and the Federal Work-Study program.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Director of Policy Analysis Karen McCarthy joins the team to give an update on the latest discussions from the second session of borrower defense negotiated rulemaking. Karen and Allie highlight the most contentious issues that came up in the second session, and where there might be areas for tentative agreement. Justin, Megan, and Stephen discuss how the outlook for legislative progress in 2018 might change after the Republicans' retreat. Plus, Stephen gives an update on federal budget negotiations and how disagreement over DACA is complicating the process.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie start by discussing hot topics of the new year, including whether schools need to report unsolicited personally identifiable information, and a likely forthcoming dip in verification numbers. Stephen walks us through what's next as Congress again works to avoid a government shutdown this month, and which policy issues might complicate the process. Plus, Allie and Justin dive into the next negotiated rulemaking session for borrower defense and what ED has proposed in draft regulatory language. The team also gives some predictions for higher education movement in 2018, and asks for listener thoughts on which issues they think will rise to the surface.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie analyze the outcome of the House education committee's 13-hour markup session of the PROSPER Act — the House Republicans' bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The gang discusses the political reverberations of the Alabama Senate election and another deadline leading to a government shutdown — the team dives into what could happen in the next few weeks. Plus, Justin shares his favorite new way to "hack" airport travel. (Spoiler alert: it involves a skateboard), and Allie tells us about a celebrity dog who attended the House HEA markup hearing. This will be the last "Off The Cuff" episode for 2017 — in the meantime, send us your "highs and lows" from the year, and we'll discuss it in our first episode back in January 2018. Happy holidays, and happy New Year, NASFAA members!
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan address questions that arose following the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Training Conference, including personally identifiable information (PII), conflicting information and 400 and 401 codes, and the future of the mobile FAFSA application. Justin, Megan, and Allie recap highlights from the House Republicans' recently-released Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, and Allie shares a dispatch from the first of three negotiated rulemaking sessions for gainful employment. Plus, the team discusses a potential government shutdown and how lawmakers hope to avoid that situation, as well as how DACA is influencing discussions.
This week, on an extended episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie go over the biggest announcements coming out of FSA's Training Conference in Orlando. The team also discusses news that House Republicans may soon release a sweeping reauthorization bill for the Higher Education Act, and what changes might be included in the bill. Justin shares his experience testifying at a Senate education committee hearing on simplifying the FAFSA and what direction senators might take in their own reauthorization bill. Plus, negotiated rulemaking for gainful employment kicks off next week – Justin, Megan, and Allie dive into what issues might come up during this first session.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Stephen and Allie take the reins with Justin and Megan out of town. Stephen gives us an update on the special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old Senate seat and how the outcome could have an impact on tax reform and other important legislation moving through Congress. He also dives into the details of how the House and Senate tax reform proposals differ. Meanwhile, Allie walks through the highlights from the first session of negotiated rulemaking for borrower defense, which kicked off this week. Moving forward, the Department of Education will take negotiators' feedback and return with a draft regulation for the second session in January. Plus, Stephen and Allie bring back "What Was That" for a one-week cameo!
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie discuss new tax reform proposals moving through Congress and the implications they could have on higher education. The team also dives into another recent glitch stemming from the IRS, as the "Get Transcript Online" tool has been nonfunctioning for new users for at least one week. Reports also surfaced in the last week that the Department of Education will be offering buyouts to some staff within Federal Student Aid, and a new Politico Magazine profile gives a more comprehensive look inside Betsy DeVos's work as Education Secretary. Plus, the team shares their favorite mantras to live by – feel free to share yours! "Off The Cuff" will be taking a one-week hiatus. Check back in two weeks for the next episode!
This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan brings us up to speed on what's happening in Washington, D.C. politics, while Stephen gives an update on Congress's progress on the federal budget. The team digs into news that the Department of Education is delaying implementation of the borrower defense regulations, and what that will mean for students. Allie outlines the high-level findings from the College Board's annual reports on trends in college pricing and student aid, and Justin and Megan share some member-submitted information on a possible spike in verification rates. Plus, the team discusses the intrigue of a new John Grisham novel on student loan debt.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie talk about new issues with verification rates the the publication of Pell Charts, while Megan and Stephen take members from the graduate and professional community to Capitol Hill. Allie outlines the details of a new lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her decision to delay the gainful employment rule, and Justin shares some breaking news from the student loan servicing arena, as Nelnet acquires Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc. Plus, how one congressman allegedly used student loan benefits to strong arm employees into extending their stay.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan go into the details of guidance from the Department of Education (ED) regarding the winding down of the Perkins Loan program. They also discuss ED's response to a June letter from NASFAA requesting an orderly and equitable wind-down of the program. Justin and Allie discuss two policy events held in Washington this week: one on coming to a bipartisan agreement on the federal government's role in higher education, and another on the merits and drawbacks of moving to a "one grant, one loan" financial aid system. Plus, the team answers some questions on the federal budget process, and asks listeners to send in which food they'd like to eat for the rest of their lives.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan give an update on guidance from the Department of Education regarding the sharing of students' FAFSA information and what schools need to know. Justin, Megan, and Stephen discuss the Perkins Loan program closeout process, and Stephen gives an update on Congress's work on the federal budget. Plus, Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about transparency expectations for the federal government, and FSA chief Dr. A. Wayne Johnson's recent public appearance at an event in Washington, D.C. The team also shares member submissions for their favorite "goodbye" songs, and poses a new question: What confuses you about the federal budget and appropriations process?
This week on "Off The Cuff," the policy team gives an update on Congress's plans for tax reform and a potential budget resolution. Megan and Stephen discuss the likely end of the Perkins Loan program, and Justin dives into the Education Department's Office of Inspector General's audit into Western Governors University. Allie outlines the latest data from ED on the national student loan cohort default rate. Plus, the team discusses readers' picks for the scariest movies of all time and pose a new question: What is your favorite "goodbye" song?
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie discuss how Congress's renewed focus on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act could have implications for higher education. While lawmakers focus on health care, tax reform and other issues are put on the back burners. Stephen gives an update on efforts to preserve the Perkins Loan Program, while Allie outlines details from the Arizona attorney general's lawsuit over high tuition prices. Megan and Justin dive into NASFAA's comments to the Department of Education on burdensome regulations. Plus, Justin Timberlake and Barack Obama were among some of our members' answers for who they would like to have dinner with.
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie discuss the details of a potential deal to preserve DACA into law. Democratic leaders claim they struck a deal with President Donald Trump, but the White House is disputing the claims. While it's unclear whether an official deal was agreed to, it appears lawmakers are working to make some sort of compromise for Dreamers. Justin also shares details from a conversation with FSA Chief Operating Officer Wayne Johnson, who met with NASFAA's National Chairs this week. The group discussed compliance issues, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, potential error codes with the next FAFSA cycle, and whether the Perkins Loan program will make a comeback. Plus, Stephen tells the group about two lawmakers who will make a musical performance on the Virginia-Tennessee line this weekend.
In this special episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin conducts interviews with two NASFAA members in Texas to give a more personal account of the impact Hurricane Harvey has had on students, staff, and institutions. In the two weeks since Harvey made landfall, students and staff alike have struggled with a wide range of challenges. JoEllen Soucier, executive director of financial aid at the Houston Community College System, shares how her institution is helping students across more than two dozen campuses. Alan Ahmad, TASFAA president and director of financial aid at Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, discusses what the state association has done and continues to do to help its members in Houston. Send your comments, questions, and feedback to us, and tune in on Friday for the next regularly scheduled episode of "Off The Cuff."
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie return from a monthlong hiatus to discuss developments in higher education over the summer, as well as the top tasks facing Congress as lawmakers return for work this fall. The team dives into the details of President Donald Trump's plans to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Megan and Stephen analyze an unexpected deal between Trump and Democrats to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown, and Justin explains things schools should keep in mind when it comes to privacy and data security with the return of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Be sure to tune in for our special episode on the impact of Hurricane Harvey on Monday, and join us next week for the next regular episode of "Off The Cuff."
This week on "Off The Cuff," the team dives into Congress's work on health care, and how delays in that area can prevent other legislation – such as the federal budget – from moving forward. The team also gives an update on a bill moving through Congress that would expand benefits for student veterans, and Megan outlines what to expect from NASFAA's annual Student Aid Profile report. Plus, team digs into higher education funding issues in West Virginia. Be sure to also listen in for a rousing debate on workplace dress codes. As we head into August, "Off The Cuff" will be taking a brief hiatus to re-tool and brainstorm new ideas for the future. We'll be back in September!
This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin shares some details from his recent meeting with newly-appointed FSA COO, Dr. A. Wayne Johnson. The two discussed a range of topics that are mutually important to financial aid professionals and FSA. Plus, Justin, Stephen, and Allie dig into the latest developments on the federal budget front, as two House committees debated and advanced two separate pieces of legislation related to the 2018 budget. One of those proposals – a budget resolution moving from the House Budget Committee – could open the door to a reconciliation process that could put some student aid programs at risk, Justin and Stephen explained. On a lighter note, Allie outlines the details from a new bill to strengthen Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for student veterans. Plus, Allie and Justin talk about their recent close encounters with wildlife at the zoo.